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SDP’s response to Ministry of Manpower’s POFMA correction directions

The Singapore Democratic Party's full statement responding to the MOM's POFMA correction directions on December 15.

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Dear Minister Josephine Teo,

We refer to the Correction Notices you sent to the SDP on 14 December 2019. We state our case below.

Post 1:

The SDP article which you refer to dated 8 June 2019 states: “The SDP’s proposal comes amidst a rising proportion of Singapore PMETs getting retrenched.”

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This statement is based on a Straits Times (ST) report “PMETs make up rising share of retrenched locals” (15 March 2019). The report states:

“Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) made up about three in four or 76 per cent of the locals – Singaporeans and permanent residents – who were retrenched last year, the highest figure in at least a decade. It rose from 72 per cent in 2017 and is significantly higher than the share of PMETs in the resident workforce, which is about 57 per cent.”

The report includes a figure labelled: “PMETs make up growing share of locals laid off” with MOM stated as its source.

As the said newspaper is a government-controlled newspaper, we have no reason to believe that it would publish fake news about the government. As such, the MOM should take the matter up with the ST. If the ST states that its information, or the interpretation of it, is incorrect, we would be happy to amend our statement correspondingly.

In a separate report by Yahoo! (3 October 2019), DBS senior economist Irvin Seah was quoted, saying: “PMETs continue to form a much larger share of retrenched workers compared to their proportion in the workforce.”

Post 2:

In our infograph posted on 30 November 2019, we made the statement: “Local PMET unemployment has increased”.

In its report “More workers were retrenched in Q1 – here’s why most of them were PMETs”, the Business Insider (13 June 2019) said: “Retrenchment in Q1 2019 is up from the previous quarter, and most of those who were retrenched were professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), a report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revealed.” Other newspapers such as ST and TODAY also published similar reports.

In the second quarter of 2019, the above-cited Yahoo! report headlined “PMET unemployment in Singapore continues to climb” stated that the “number of PMETs who lost their jobs increased from 1,440 to 1,680, making them the bulk of those retrenched.”

The report also cited Mr Irvin Seah’s comment that the rate of PMETs re-entering the workforce after six months of retrenchment was “persistently much lower”.

Our statement is based on publicly available information cited in the reports mentioned.

Post 3:

In our infograph posted on 2 December 2019, we made the statement: “Local PMET employment has decreased”. This is similar to Case 2. In addition, the low re-entry numbers suggest that the absolute numbers of unemployed and under-employed PMETs would have increased.

Be that as it may, 2019 isn’t over, yet you say that local PMET employment has risen for the year. This raises questions about your conclusion.

Sincerely,

John Tan

Vice-Chairman

Singapore Democratic Party

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